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Did You Know – Spotted Hyaena

See below our fact sheet for the spotted Hyaena (Crocuta crocuta)

Spotted Hyaena (hyena) Scientific name: Crocuta crocuta  Description: Largest of the hyena family, look bearlike. Hyena are carnivores that are related to the mongoose. May have originated in Asia 5 million years ago. Coat is short and thin. Colour reddish brown/tan coat which gets lighter and less spotted with age. Natal coat is black, no spots. Yearling coat grey and heavily spotted.  Habitat: Found in savannah and where ever there are antelope and zebra.  Life expectancy: Males and females can live 20-25 years in the wild. Captive hyaena  have been known to reach 40.  Communication: One of the most vocal African animals. Have 11 different calls. - Groans and squeals - greeting - Whooping - contact call - Fast whooping - Rally call - male calls tend to be ignored. - Lowing - shows impatience, usually when waiting at a kill. 	  Diet: Carnivore, rarely eats insects/fruit/vegetable. Unlike other carnivores eats most of animal (other carnivores can waste up to 40%). Hyaenas have the ability to eat and digest everything, even bones, hooves, teeth and smaller horns which are all digested within 24 hours. Hyaenas eat everything except the stomach content of their prey. Taking the easy way for food they will scavenge or pick young/injured animals. But they are capable of taking down wildebeest three time their size.  Social structure: Live in large groupd to defend territory. But unlike other social carnivores; - compete more and co-operate less. - Females are bigger than the males - Females compete for rank and food - No cross suckling of young - Males play no parental role  - the few that are allowed near the cub dens are bullied by higher ranking offspring.   Male/female: Not as easy as you'd think... Males: height 79-86cm Females: Larger than males height 84-89cm.  Both sexes have 2 teats and boneless penis 14.5-19.5cm. Female penis changes at puberty as urethral opening splits open and teats enlarge.  Behaviour: Movement - rarely trots, moves at about 6mph. Can run 25-31mph but only for a few miles.  Predators: No real predators, but heavy competition. Spotted hyaena practice mobbing attacks against rival clans and lions - usually to claim a kill. Lack of cooperative defense does put hyaena to disadvantage. Use vultures as indicator of carcass.   Did You Know: -Their jaws are capable of exerting pressures of up to 800 kg/square inch!  -Another name for the spotted hyena is the “laughing hyena”.

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